There’s an old joke about a young couple who decided to go on a diet. Fortunately, the wife found a diet cookbook that guaranteed fast weight loss without sacrificing flavor. And indeed, the food was delicious and they never felt hungry. But after a couple of months, they noticed that they were actually gaining weight. So, they rechecked the cookbook, and lo and behold, at the end of each recipe a small note mentioned: ‘Serves 4’.

Moral of the story? Always watch out for serving sizes. And this also goes for a lot of products you see at your local supermarket…

There is, for example, a certain popular carbonated beverage which also comes in a sugar-free diet version. So, if you’re looking to shed a few kilos, you go for the diet version, thinking that since it’s served in the same-sized bottle as the normal version, it should be packing a lot less calories. But as it turns out, the bottle of diet soda holds two and a half servings instead of one… and whatever’s posted on the nutrition facts label is of course the amount per one serving.

Besides the soda example there are also instant soups that are X calories per cup, but the cup-shaped packaging you buy actually contains two cups. Or instant noodles that contain two servings in a single packet.

So, the next time you go grocery shopping, don’t forget to look at the ‘serving size’ and do a bit of quick math to see just how many calories we’ll actually be eating before putting something in your basket…

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